Why has Cecil the Zimbabwe lion’s death stirred such an emotional outcry when children are tortured in Syria? Immigrants seeking relief from lethal bombing and grinding poverty drown in rickety boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Women are savagely raped during tribal conflicts. Blustery prime ministers flout world opinion as well as the rule of law and continue to impede the peace process. Mass killings seem the norm. It seems that we’ve become inured to abject suffering, sorrow and even death on a daily basis. Yet a lion, a beloved old lion, killed then be-headed by a wealthy White American hunter and left to rot in the searing African sun has drawn world-wide outrage as well as empathy. How come we grieve for an animal but seem to lack the same will to push for peace?
Cecil’s merciless death tugs at our hearts because of why and how he died. A ferocious lion? No, Cecil wasn’t on the prowl to attack humans. Most lions don’t bother humans. Rather, he was in a protected area, a national preserve, just being a lion. Actually, he was studied by a major university as part of an endangered species project. The real culprits? Greed, power, arrogance, bloated male ego and a local economy in shambles. Two local Zimbabweans, desperate for money, lured Cecil out of a safe zone so he could become the next prized trophy of Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist and avowed hunter who kills big game animals, some endangered, just for the thrill. What’s the purpose of trophy hunting? Mostly rich, affluent White men and a few women, pay large sums of money to hunt and kill wild animals, some on the endangered species list, and then chop off their heads. The heads hang in their homes or offices to show off their bravado or to sicken their guests. Appealing? Perhaps to some. To me, it’s disgusting, revolting and a brutal way to end a harmless animal’s life. What wrong had Cecil caused Dr. Palmer? None that I heard of. Rhinos, lions, tigers, elephants and others need protection from human hunters like Dr. Palmer. In some cases, wild animals already have been hunted to extinction or near extinction. Others are on the verge of being wiped out such as the black rhino. These animals are of little or no threat to us. Rather, their lives are in imminent danger because of selfish human activity. Man is the cruelest of all animals.
Cecil, I’m sorry that a dastardly dentist named Walter Palmer wasted his money to kill you. He could’ve directed that money to provide dental care to poor children in his area or donated it to a public school. Think of how many textbooks that money could have purchased. Or he could have shared the funds with wildlife causes in Africa. Instead, he squandered it by ending your precious life. You deserved better. We all deserve better than a small man like Walter Palmer. I hope your death, Cecil, will help us change the world so warped, egotistical people like Walter Palmer will think twice about killing innocents and the door opens to a kinder, gentler world for us all. That would be a fantastic legacy to leave behind. Rest in peace Cecil.